One of the things that makes the long drive from Belgium to the South of France fun is the pit stops we make along the way. Last year we stopped in Mont St. Michel and then in Ile de Re. There is a blog entry from last year's visit to Ile de Re which includes beautiful photos of hollyhocks. click here Ile de rê There is so much beauty along the road that it's impossible not to stop and enjoy some of the sights. Whether you drive via the interior and stop in Paris, or if you drive along the coast, there is much to see and do. I prefer the coast because there are always great places to enjoy good seafood and of course amazing sights.
Yesterday was a bitter-sweet day for us because we had to say good-bye to Johan's comfy and airy cottage just when the weather got better. It would have been nice to hang out outside and have a pic-nic or barbecue. That was the bitter part, but the sweet part is that we began our trek to the south. We got a late start because we had to make sure the van was in good shape to take us all the way down. You have to make sure the air conditioning is working! :)
Along the way we stopped to see England from the hills. All those rolling hills bathed in vibrant green grass just make you dizzy with their beauty. We admired many quaint villages and towns along the way and delighted our lungs with the clean ocean air. I so relish these moments when you have the chance to just admire beauty, both natural and created, and feel grateful to be alive.
We were trying to decide where to spend our first night and knew we would be stopping in Boulogne Sur Mer, so we decided we should stay there since it was almost dinner time. Yes, we don't make reservations ahead of time, we just take a chance. We normally find a place to stay, but when we don't we just sleep in the van. It is roomy, and we always take some mattresses so we can sleep comfortably.
Boulonge Sur Mer is a gem, or perhaps I should say a pearl, since it is "by the sea." The original city is surrounded by a tall wall, as it was customary in medieval times as a way of protection from enemies. It is situated along the Côte d'Opale in Northern France and has many unique features. Click here Boulogne sur Mer
I love the entryway into the city. It makes you feel like you are being allowed into a private society, a special place.
One of the first things you admire about Boulogne even before you enter the walled city is its beautiful cathedral. The dome just juts out above the walls majestically. No matter how many times I visit this city, I always take pictures of the cathedral and they always look great! It's fun to take a stroll along the wall of the ciy and find the many entryways. The city streets with cobblestones are clean and beautiful and there are many shops and cafes along the way. In the center of the city, there is a community garden that is like a gallery, for it changes in design every so often and they usually feature things to do with the local agronomy and traditions.
We enjoyed a delicious dinner, some good wine and after walking along the wall again for a while, we retired for the evening. This morning I type this as I sip my coffee at our hotel and prepare to meet Melissa and Bob who stayed in a camping in their RV. Off on our voyage to the south! On the way to Normandie.